BERKLEY VOTES TO EXPAND CLEAN ENERGY
Package Will Increase Renewable Power, Up Gas Mileage Standards
Congresswoman Shelley Berkley (D-NV) today voted for The Energy Independence and Security Act. The landmark energy package, which passed on a vote of 235 to 181, will increase renewable energy development, strengthen gas mileage standards, address greenhouse gas emissions and decrease dependence on foreign oil. The legislation repeals billions of dollars in taxpayer giveaways to big oil and gas companies and is free of subsidies for the nuclear power industry.
"Creating more clean energy is good for families, good for our economy and good for our environment. Investing in solar and other renewable power resources will increase America's energy independence, while creating more jobs and new businesses. This legislation also repeals billions in taxpayer giveaways to big oil and gas and invests these dollars in the development of solar, geothermal and wind energy, which are free of greenhouse gas emissions," said Berkley.
"I am very pleased that we are not spending a single dime in this bill to subsidize new nuclear power plants. Unlike nuclear power, renewable energy does not create toxic high level waste with no safe means of disposal. Subsidizing the construction of new nuclear reactors will only increase the pressure to dump toxic radioactive waste at Yucca Mountain. These dollars are far better spent encouraging more renewable energy development," said Berkley, who successfully fought to block any nuclear subsidies from being added to the energy bill.
In addition, the Democratic package increases gas mileage standards for the first time in decades, a move that will mean more fuel efficient cars and trucks for Nevada drivers who stand to see a savings at the gas pump.
"Strengthening gas mileage standards will translate into savings at the gas pump for consumers who will be able to drive more fuel efficient cars. Using less oil will help break America's dependence on Saudi Arabia and on nations that are hostile toward the U.S. and our allies," said Berkley.
The Energy Independence and Security Act:
* Increases the efficiency of vehicles to 35 miles per gallon by 2020;
* Requires for the first time that 15% of our electricity come from renewable sources;
* Improves energy efficiency of a wide range of products, appliances, lighting and buildings;
* Makes an historic commitment to American-grown biofuels;
* Invests in clean renewable and alternative energy tax incentives to build viable markets and create jobs.
While Nevada already has its own law requiring green energy use, Berkley noted that the legislation passed by the House today would create a national renewable electricity standard (RES) for the first time. A strong advocate for green energy development in Nevada and nationwide, Berkley has consistently supported legislation in Congress that utilizes the same concept as Nevada's renewable portfolio standard (RPS) law.
"Passage of a renewable electricity standard will encourage the production of more solar, wind and geothermal power and help move America toward real energy independence. As we have seen in Nevada, having such a requirement in place will promote the development of new clean energy sources for families, while also protecting our environment and addressing climate change," said Berkley, referring to the requirement in Nevada law that 20% of energy consumed in the Silver State be drawn from renewable sources by 2015.
Berkley pushed for inclusion of a nationwide RES as part of a comprehensive energy bill authored and passed by House Democrats earlier this year. President Bush has repeatedly threatened to veto legislation establishing such a mandatory renewable requirement. Berkley and fellow Democrats in Congress are preparing to stand their ground and challenge the President and his supporters on the clean energy issue.
"The State of Nevada has been a leader on this issue and we can look to the Silver State as an example of what should be done on a nationwide scale when it comes to a renewable energy requirement. The sun and wind are not owned by nations hostile to the U.S. and renewable energy does not create toxic radioactive waste or increase pressure for this nuclear garbage to be dumped in Nevada. The need for clean energy is not a partisan issue and I hope that those who support renewable power will join me in calling on the White House not to block passage of an RES in Congress," said Berkley.